ESPOO, Finland — The United States exploited moments of poor puck management by Canada in a 3-2 win in the group stage at the women's world hockey championship Saturday.
The defending champions scored on an odd-man rush and a turnover for a 2-1 lead before their special teams took over to close out the win.
Annie Pankowski's power-play goal in the second period was the game-winner.
Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield also scored for the Americans, who were alone atop Group A with six points following the victory.
U.S. starter Alex Rigsby made 31 saves for the win in front of an announced 3,502 at Metro Areena.
"We always want to come and kind of take the game to them and play our game," Pankowski said. "They also make it hard because they have so much skill and so much speed."
Canada dropped into a tie alongside Finland and Russia, all with three points apiece in the group. Switzerland was winless in two games.
Brianne Jenner had goal and an assist for Canada. Sarah Nurse also scored and Brigette Lacquette assisted on a pair of goals.
Emerance Maschmeyer turned away 27 shots in the loss.
The Canadians scored both goals on the power play, but went 2-for-7 overall. The U.S. was 1-for-6.
"I think special teams wins hockey games and I think on our power play specifically, we had a lot of good chances and we did capitalize on it," Nurse said. "We'd like to capitalize on a couple more."
Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin skated in Saturday's warmup, but remained on the bench in her gear for a second straight game.
She sustained a knee injury Feb. 24 playing the final regular-season game for the CWHL's Les Canadiennes de Montreal.
Canada has Sunday off before concluding group play against Russia on Monday and host Finland on Tuesday.
Coach Perry Pearn said Genevieve Lacasse will start against Russia and Shannon Szabados goes back in Tuesday after her six-save shutout over Switzerland to open the tournament.
"We have three veteran goalies and they're all good goalies and we felt we needed to give them all a meaningful game in the first four games," Pearn explained.
"The way it's set up this year, I think it's really good to have the depth in goaltending we have so that when we get into that playoff round, we'll be going in with a fairly fresh goalie."
Finland blanked Russia 4-0 earlier Saturday.
The Czech Republic moved into first in Group B with six points following a 5-3 win over Sweden. Germany edged Japan 3-2 to get to five points, while the Japanese sat third with three.
The Swedes owned a single point and France was winless in two games.
The tournament is seeded according to world ranking with the top five countries in Group A and sixth to 10th in Group B.
All Group A countries and the top three Group B countries will play quarterfinals April 11. The semifinals are April 13 followed by medal games April 14.
Pankowksi put a slapshot over Maschmeyer's right shoulder at 14:03 of the second period. Canada drew even at 1:55, when Jenner tipped a Lacquette point shot past Rigsby.
With the speed that set the hockey world abuzz at the NHL all-star skills competition, Coyne Schofield scored on a breakaway at 18:13 of the first period.
Defender Micah Zandee-Hart went down by Canada's bench handling the puck. Coyne Schofield was upon her in a few strides to steal the puck and score.
"We've got two defenceman trying to change and in trying to change, all of a sudden the puck's coming back at you," Pearn stated. "She was trying to go to the bench and realizing she was in trouble with the puck coming at her.
"You do those things to yourself and if we don't understand that from tonight's game, we're going to have a tough time beating the U.S."
Nurse scored on a rebound after Knight finished a two-on-one with Dani Cameranesi.
"I think the U.S. had four two-on-ones in the first period," Pearn said. "If you're going to do that against this team, you're going to pay the price."
The U.S. beat Canada twice to win November's Four Nations Cup in Saskatoon.
After a 1-0 loss to open February's three-game Rivalry Series with the U.S., Canada won back-to-back games with scores of 4-3 and 2-0.
"There's a lot of emotion," Rigsby said. "We had the Four Nations Cup and the Rivalry Series. I think it was great to have both of those since the Olympics.
"You never take any time off and you make sure you come in prepared for every single game every time you play each other.
"You saw a great example of that right now, both teams battling and wanting to come out on top."
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press